Iberdrola

Arcos Combined Cycle Power Plant to house a Microalgae Cultivation Plant developed by Algaenergy

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Source: Iberdrola

  • The project was presented to the local and provincial authorities in Arcos de la Frontera
  • The project, which also includes the participation of the company Exeleria, the Universities of Seville and Almería, the Andalusian Energy Agency and the Madrid Network, will require an initial investment of €3 million
  • The plant, which will occupy a surface area of 10,000 square metres, will consume over 200 tonnes of CO2per year and the company expects the first stage to be operational by the end of 2012


The company Algaenergy and IBERDROLA will be commissioning a demonstration plant for the cultivation of microalgae on an industrial scale at the combined cycle power plant in Arcos de la Frontera. The plant will employ CO2 fixation technology and the biomass obtained from the process will also be used.  Other participants in this initiative are the engineering firm Exeleria, the Universities of Seville and Almería, the Andalusian Energy Agency and the Madrid Network Biotechnology Cluster.


Construction is expected to commence on the plant in early 2012 and the initial surface area will be 10,000 square metres.  The budget allocated to the project amounts to €3 million and the first stage is expected to be complete by the end of 2012. All stages in the facility are expected to be operational before the last quarter of 2013.


The weather conditions were a decisive factor in choosing Andalusia, and more specifically the municipality of Arcos de la Frontera, as the location for this plant. The area enjoys high solar radiation and moderate average temperatures. Other important factors were the community's interest in renewable energies and the excellent international reputation of the research groups in this field of science and knowledge in the Andalusian universities.


This R&D project, called CO2Algaefix, is part of the LIFE+ programme run by the Directorate-General of the Environment in the European Union, of which one of the aims is to obtain renewable biofuels, including biogas. 

Moreover, the 100,000+ kg/year of biomass that will be obtained during the process from the microalgae strains may also be of interest and use for sectors such as fish-farming, cosmetics, healthcare, foodstuffs for human or animal consumption or agricultural fertilisers.  The CO2 that is needed for the process will be captured straight from that which is produced by generator III at Arcos power plant in the gas combustion process and the water that will be used in the cultivation will come from the recycling plant at the facility. Therefore, thanks to the technology that will be on display for the first time and on a huge scale at the plant, mostly based on flat vertical reactors and other innovative systems that have been designed/ perfected by AlgaEnergy, the CO2 fixation capacity could exceed 200 tonnes per year.

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